Steck Spanish-American Collection

In the course of his life as a writer and professor at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Fr. Francis Boria Steck, O.F.M. (1884-1962) began to collect books pertinent to his work resulting in what is now called the Fraborese Library. This collecting resulted in some 5,000 volumes concentrating on four specialized areas.

  They include Mexican History (mainly 17th and 18th century literature), the Spanish-Borderlands (the states of the deep South and Southwest, areas of Spanish Colonial and especially Franciscan activity), French Colonial with a predominant emphasis on the middle 1650's, and Latin America, again centering on Franciscan missions.  The book portion of the Steck Collection is available through the library's on-line catalog.

The Steck Collection also includes archival materials as slides on the story of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, the cathedrals and churches of Mexico and the Franciscan missions in the Spanish Borderlands. Also in the archival collection are Fr. Steck's original manuscripts and notes, letters, documents and photographs. The archival collection measures 28 linear feet. This collection is not open to researchers at this time, but questions may be forwarded to the archivist, Patricia Tomczak.

Of special note are many rare volumes contained in the book portion of the collection such as, Jorquemada's History of the Spanish Indies (1723 edition), the complete Jesuit Relations, Pandectas Spanish-Mexican General Laws (1823), Mendieta's History of Mexico, Sagra's History of the Island of Cuba (1842) as well as many other volumes now out of print. The biography section covers the fields mentioned quite adequately. Pertinent periodicals also are found in the collection, making it one of the best private collections, covering the four areas, in the midwest.